Kondracke claimed McCain's "position on comprehensive immigration reform" could win over Hispanics -- but he's abandoned it

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

On The Beltway Boys, Morton Kondracke asserted that Sen. John McCain "may well" be able to "match George Bush's 2004 record of 40 percent" of the Hispanic vote "because he's got a position on comprehensive immigration reform that's humanitarian." But McCain asserted on January 30 that he "would not" support his original comprehensive immigration proposal if it came to a vote on the Senate floor and now says that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.

On the March 8 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys, co-host and Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke asserted that Sen. John McCain "may well" be able to "match George Bush's 2004 record of 40 percent" of the Hispanic vote "because he's got a position on comprehensive immigration reform that's humanitarian." But McCain has abandoned his previous "position on comprehensive immigration reform." McCain asserted on January 30 that he "would not" support his original comprehensive immigration proposal if it came to a vote on the Senate floor and now says that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Kondracke's assertion echoes the belief of McCain's advisers, uncritically reported in a March 5 Los Angeles Times article, that McCain's "work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation's illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State."

McCain also reversed his position on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would have allowed "illegal immigrants under age 30 to remain in the United States and gain legal status if they attend college or join the military."

Numerous media outlets have noted McCain's previous support for comprehensive immigration reform without noting that he has since changed his position. In contrast to Kondracke and others, The New York Times reported in a March 3 article that McCain has "moved from his original position on immigration" and that "McCain went so far at a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in January to say that if his original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, he would not vote for it."

From the March 8 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys:

BARNES: Welcome back to The Beltway Boys.

Hot story number two, cruise control. Now, John McCain was obviously exaggerating a bit. I don't think he's gonna spend a lot of time campaigning in Rhode Island or California, but he was onto something, and that is -- onto what I think are two things. One, there's some states that have been fading from being blue. You know, there have been Republican states that I think he can do well in -- that's Colorado and New Mexico and Nevada for three. And then there's states that are red, or going red, that he can be competitive in and are tossups now.

So, you know, Karl Rove has done this map showing how the states stand now. And we can look at it first. John McCain versus Hillary Clinton. And it does show McCain winning Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. And when you move to the East, into these Democratic states, they're tossups. Pennsylvania, which is -- usually goes Democratic in a presidential race, Ohio, which has been certainly tilting that way, New Hampshire, which went for John Kerry. Then look out in the West, you know, up top there, the state of Washington, a Democratic state, may go for McCain. So against Hillary he's -- he looks fairly strong.

Now, Karl has also done a map of McCain against Barack Obama. Doesn't look quite as good. It shows I think Obama winning Nevada and Colorado. New Mexico's a tossup. And you move to the East. I guess Pennsylvania and Ohio are still tossup states. But obviously, according to Karl Rove -- and I think I agree with him, and I suspect you do, too -- as it stands now, McCain runs much better, much more strongly against Hillary Clinton than he does against Barack Obama.

KONDRACKE: Yeah. Right. When McCain says that he's gonna campaign all over the country, he's not only talking about states -- going to states that Republicans don't normally go do, but also localities, like inner city African-American neighborhoods, Hispanic barrios, Appalachia, all those kind of places that Republicans rarely come to. And he's hoping that among Hispanics, he can match George Bush's 2004 record of 40 percent. And he well may because he's got a position on comprehensive immigration reform that's humanitarian.

Now, he's gotta to figure out how to separate himself from George W. Bush. I mean, you can't -- the Democrats are gonna try to tie him tightly to him. The technique that I've heard discussed is that at every speech, he's gonna talk about one of your favorite subjects, Fred: global climate change.

BARNES: Yeah. Well, that's what -- look, the way I rationalize that is McCain has to do one thing in this race -- he's gotta win back independents. They abandoned Republicans in 2006. Conservatives stayed there. You know, there's some conservatives who think that, well, we were mad at Republicans so we didn't vote Republican in 2006. Not true. It was independents. Maybe independents fall for that global warming stuff. But I don't.

Anyway, coming up, the line narrows between politics and farce this campaign season. We tell you how.

Posted In
Immigration, Immigration Reform
Person
Mort Kondracke
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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